Legalizing Marijuana Is Much Deeper. David Brooks Gets It Wrong

Marijuana David Brooks

David Brooks wrote an op-ed today that makes one wonder if he was having yet another off day. He came out to lament Colorado and Washington’s legalizing marijuana.

Drugs and alcohol were never my thing. Though, I had absolutely no problem with those who did their thing responsibly. Unlike David Brooks, I never willingly smoked marijuana though I did inhale.

I played in a reggae band in Austin for about two weeks at a nudist colony. All the members would pass the dutchie (a rather thick joint), from member to member. I would simply pass it to the next. I might as well have smoked the dutchie given the fog in the room by the end of the session. I inhaled much of that second hand smoke.

David Brooks seem to believe that all these ‘new’ joint smokers would be in a marijuana induced stupor. I have been around users of coke, marijuana, pill poppers, and the reality is that the reaction is personal in nature. Most in my circles were generally in full control.

Does David Brooks not know he is likely surrounded by marijuana users?

David Brooks fails to realize that a large swath of Americans that he is interacting with are on so many drugs, legal and illegal that his concern of “nurturing a moral ecology in which it is a bit harder to be the sort of person most of us want to be,” has likely occurred already. It is almost guaranteed that many in his office are already on depressants or other drugs.

My biggest beef with David Brook’s piece however is his singular attack on marijuana. Is alcohol any better than marijuana? Alcohol kills brain cells and destroys many organs. It has been linked to various types of cancers. Marijuana may or may not share some or all of those side effects as well. Why then should one be legal and the other not. Why should the use of marijuana have a negative connotation while alcohol not?

Many marijuana users sing praises for the freedom it gives them to smoke without fear. Others believe the tax collected is more effective in government’s hands than in those of the illegal drug dealers. Others believe bringing it out in the open allows for those that get addicted to get support from state dollars collected from the tax on marijuana. The stigma of seeking treatment would attenuate. Bill Maher thinks support for broader legalization of marijuana can get you elected. I view it as one less avenue by which mostly minority youth lives can be destroyed by a legal system that disproportionately target them for harsher sentences.

While David Brooks meanders in platitudes, those supporting legalization of marijuana now, and hopefully other drugs later, live in today’s reality. If your drug use does not have a physical or financial impact on me, you should have the freedom to do it. I thought that was a Conservative mantra as well.

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